Monday, September 05, 2011

'Just War' Ethics Stripped from Air Force Training

Atheists' complaints have resulted in the Air Force suspending the decades-long study of the "Just War Theory" from routine ethics training simply because the origins of the subject matter are rooted in Christianity, which thus requires presentation of Bible verses and historic Christian leaders.

-- From "Air Force Suspends 'Just War Theory'" by The Associated Press 8/3/11

The Air Force has suspended a course that nuclear missile launch officers were required to take called “Christian Just War Theory.”

David Smith, spokesman for the Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command, says the course will be revised after complaints about its use of Bible passages to show that it can be moral to go to war.

Smith says that approach is now considered inappropriate in a pluralistic society.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Air Force Suspends 'Christian Just War Theory' Class for Missile Officers" by Dave Bohon, The New American 8/16/11

The 43-slide Power Point presentation begins by posing the question, “Can a person of faith fight in a war?” and includes photos of such American military leaders as General George Washington, Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, and General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson as affirmation that a Christian may fight. It cites such Old Testament examples as Abraham, who “organized an army to rescue Lot (Genesis 14),” and Hebrew judges Samson and Deborah, who were motivated by God “to fight and deliver Israel from foreign oppressors.” The presentation also notes New Testament references to the military, such as the apostle John’s reference to Jesus as a warrior judge (Revelation 19:11).

[David] Smith said Air Force officials were not aware of the religious nature of the class until they were contacted by, the online magazine that originally broke the story. “That is when we became aware of concerns about the course and our commander here reviewed the course and decided immediately that it was not appropriate for what we want to do and suspended using that briefing,” said Smith.

But Matthew Staver of Liberty Council, a conservative legal advocacy group, argued that allowing chaplains “to include Christian values and themes in ethics presentations does not violate the establishment clause” — that portion of the First Amendment that foes of religious freedom have used in an effort sanitize society of faith in God.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Sen. John Cornyn Letter to Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley" posted at 9/5/11

Dear Secretary Donley:

I write to express my concern regarding recent reports that the Department of the Air Force has suspended a course entitled “Christian Just War Theory.”

. . . suspending a course like this because of references to religious texts misinterprets the First Amendment. Although our Founding Fathers rightly included language in the Constitution that precludes the Federal government from establishing an official religion, this language does not, as some have argued, protect them from exposure to religious references.

The First Amendment is intended to guarantee an individual’s right to the free exercise of religion according to his or her conscience. The Air Force personnel who have taken this course for the past 20 years have been free to determine, according to their own consciences, whether they accept or reject the premises of just war theory.

To read the entire letter, CLICK HERE.